Hiking with your dog can be a wonderful experience, but you should definitely give a thought to the canine-essential gear you need. If you’re looking to have an outdoor experience with your pet, and minimize the hassle, then read on and we’ll get your brain yapping for some extra gear that’ll make life easier for both of you.
1. Treats or Food
If you’re planning on a hike much longer than a half-hour, you should make sure you bring along some food for your canine companion. For shorter treks, a few treats are usually fine, on longer ones you may want to bring a serving or two of their regular food.
Hiking burns a lot of calories, for both of you. That means you’ll need to replenish afterward, and your dog may get hungry along the trail’s edge.
Treats are also a good idea for dogs new to hiking. Use them as a positive reinforcement measure to encourage your dog not to do things like chase squirrels or going off into the brush alone.
2. Collapsible Bowl
While dogs can be trained to drink directly from the bottle, you may want to just pick up a collapsible dog bowl instead. You can use them for both food and water, and a good one will last a lifetime.
These are perfect for when your group is taking a bit of a break along the trail. You can let your dog get set up in the shade as you prepare for the next leg of the journey.
For food, they’re almost essential. A bowl keeps the food off clean and off the ground, where it could be contaminated. Our dogs usually have robust immune systems but it’s not a good idea to test it.
3. Good Harness
You need a durable harness that will hold up over time for your dog. Skip just attaching a leash to their collar, even if that’s the way you’d normally do things.
There are a lot of opportunities for your dog to slide into an uncomfortable position while on trails. A harness will keep weight distributed over your dog’s torso if they, for instance, slip down an embankment. A simple collar would choke them in that case.
They also make it easier to control your dog. Control is essential while you’re hiking, for the safety of both your dog and the wildlife around them. Heavy-duty nylon is a great choice, and should be strong enough for any pooch.
4. Flea Collar
Many people don’t consider a flea collar when they head out, but they’re actually effective against ticks as well. These little bloodsuckers can make your dog sick, transfer to you later, and generally make an uncomfortable time for everyone involved.
Many are also effective against mosquitos, which are another irritating parasite that’s often found on trails all over the world.
Take some time to research a good one. Even the best doesn’t mean you can skip a tick inspection, however, as it only takes one getting through the defenses to make your dog ill.
5. Canine First Aid Kit
A canine first aid kit is exactly what it sounds like, and a small one should be in your backpack on any hike. They’re often pre-made and come with extras that make them more attractive for animal use.
If you don’t want to invest in another first aid kit, you can add a few items to your current outfit to make it effective for dogs.
The big thing missing from a human first aid kit is paw cream of some sort. These are meant to help your dog’s feet recover. The rest of the stuff is useful for any other sort of injury.
Get some training too. Even the best kit isn’t going to help if you don’t know what to do with it!
In some areas, particularly shrublands and desert, it may be a good idea to get your dog a nice pair of boots. They’re reasonably priced and they can protect a dog’s bare paws from heat, stickers, and other ground-bound hazards along the way.
Most dogs will take to them relatively quickly, but for others, it may require a little it of training. The protection is invaluable, however, and as long as they’re fitted properly the dog won’t suffer any loss of agility.
They’re also handy for anyone who lives in a hotter climate, where they can protect a dog’s feet from hot asphalt and concrete during daily walks. Give them a shot!
Exploring the Great Outdoors With Your Dog
Getting out and around the wilderness is great. Doing it with your dog is even better. And best of all? Taking the time to make sure that both of you are properly outfitted for both convenience and safety. If you’re planning on hiking, go through the list above. You’ll be happy you did when it turns out you need the stuff!